Insulin resistance is a “pre-diabetic” phase where your body becomes resistant to insulin. Glucose is formed from carbohydrates in food. All starches (rice, pasta, maize meal, bread etc.), fruits, vegetables and sugars get broken down to glucose molecules in the digestive system. These glucose molecules get transported to the blood stream where insulin takes responsibility to take all glucose from the blood stream to the body cells to provide the cells with energy. Therefore, if your body is resistant to insulin, the glucose stays in the blood stream and causes high blood sugar.
To prevent high blood sugar levels a healthy balanced diet should be followed:
1. AMOUNT OF FOOD CONSUMED
If you eat a large amount of food, a large amount of glucose will be formed and thus elevate your blood glucose levels. Good portion control will prevent elevated blood glucose levels. The size of your fist is more or less the portion of starches allowed at one meal. These starches include potato, pumpkin, corn, sweet potato, peas, bread, rice, maize meal, pasta and breakfast cereals. Fruits should always fit into your hand as that will form 1 portion.
REMEMBER PORTION SIZES!
2. TYPE OF FOOD CONSUMED
Some starches gets broken down into glucose very quickly and then cause a spike in the blood glucose whereas other starches take a longer time and release glucose at a slow pace and therefore gradually increases blood glucose. The first type of starches mentioned is also named High GI starches. GI refers to the glycemic index (glucose releasing speed). High GI starches include white and brown bread, white rice, white pasta, maize pap, instant-oats, instant-noodles and other refined carbohydrates such as cookies, chips, sweets and sugar.
Low GI starches release glucose gradually and are far better to consume than High GI foods. Low GI starches include brown or wild rice, wholewheat pasta (if specified), seed breads, whole oats, most vegetables and some fruits. See the list on page 5 for more food examples.
CHOOSE LOW GI FOODS!
Fiber is the roughage in food and is not absorbed in the body. There are 2 types of fiber namely; soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the digestive tract and forms a soft ball that passes through the intestines. This fiber also prevents glucose to be taken to the blood stream too quickly and therefore plays a role in preventing elevated blood glucose. The insoluble fiber also requires water to progress through the digestive tract but does not absorb any water. This type of fiber gives a feeling of satiety (prevent hunger pangs) without contributing any glucose to the body. It also aids in cleaning the intestines to prevent diseases like colon cancer, diverticular disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
CHOOSE FOODS HIGH IN SOLUBLE AND INSOLUBLE FIBER!
4. REGULARITY OF MEALS
It is important to eat meals at regular intervals to keep the blood glucose levels constant. If a meal is skipped, it is more likely that you will overeat at the next meal; this then causes a spike in blood glucose levels as mentioned at number 1. If meals are planned into 5 to 6 small parts throughout the day, less food is consumed at one specific time so the blood glucose levels will be better controlled. This will also aid in weight loss!
EAT 5 TO 6 SMALL MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY!
5. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Being overweight or obese contributes to the body’s resistance to insulin. By losing 7 to 10% of your body weight, insulin sensitivity in the body would increase. This together with exercise will cause a remarkable difference to your health problem. Always choose low fat products and drink plenty of water. Never confuse thirst for hunger!
EXERCISE PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS!